Parents Just Saying ‘No’ to Birthday Gifts
It may be a good lesson for young kids on the value of human relationships
over material things, but if a lot of people follow the example of Bill Doherty,
a researcher in childhood consumer culture at the University of Minnesota and
co-founder of BirthdaysWithoutPressure.org, retailers could see a big drop-off
in the amount of goods purchased as birthday gifts.
What Mr. Doherty and other like-minded
parents have done is tell others attending their kids’ parties to forget about
bringing a gift.
Alissa Michelin Nierenberg, who lives in Manhattan, told the New
York Post that
she came to the conclusion that all the gift giving “is ridiculous” while
on a gift buying trip to purchase 50 presents for the parties her two kids
would attend over the course of a year.
Ms. Nierenberg, said of her own daughter, “When
she’s 75 percent
finished opening one gift, she’s onto the next; all she cares about is
Birthdays Without Pressure offers a list of examples of birthdays gone wild
on its website. Here are some of the least extreme examples.
- A Chicago party invitation requests gifts worth at least $35 because gifts
worth only $10 at the previous year’s party did not cover the family’s cost
for the event.
- Also in Chicago, half-year parties are in vogue.
- Parents are setting up birthday party registries on sites such as Amazon.com.
- Opening gifts at a one year old’s party in Minnesota community takes two
hours while the guest of honor sleeps.
Many parents are fighting back against these excesses, asking those who feel
they need to give something at a party to make a donation to charity instead.
told the Post that she used ECHOage.com for one of her
kids’ birthdays. Half of the donations from the party went to a charity chosen
by her child ($450 for Free the Children) while the rest, minus a 15 percent
administration fee, went to buying a gift for the birthday child.
Discussion Questions: Are there ways retailers can actively work with parents
looking to create more responsible birthday celebrations? For those consumers
intent on going overboard, what can retailers do to capture more of their business?
- We’ve got gift-off – New York Post
- Have you heard about or experienced anything like this? – Birthdays Without